In the second in a three-part series on education in emergencies with a focus on the northeast, this interview with Abiola Sanusi, Education Specialist at Riplington and Associates, a Nigeria-based training, advocacy, research and policy organization that uses qualitative and quantitative data to aid their educative work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Sanusi discussed from her civil society perspective the challenge of providing education in conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, how much more is needed, the military’s role, what government has and had not done, and how local organizations can help.
TAP spoke to Education Officer and Coordinator of the Education in Emergencies Working Group Nigeria Dr. Judith Giwa-Amu, who facilitates coordination among several humanitarian organizations and federal government towards improved access to education for displaced children in the northeast. This is part of a three-part series on children and education in the northeast. In this interview, Dr. Giwa-Amu shares with us key details about education sector humanitarian response through which conflict-affected children are educated, teachers are being trained, and coordination is happening among all key actors. She also tells us how education of girls is being attended to, and tells us of what is happening in terms of education to Nigerian children who had managed to flee to camps in neighboring countries. She shares her hopes for increasing school enrollment and how larger organizations can bolster support for smaller ones to further improve on delivery of education of this vulnerable population of children in the region.
Dr. Fatima Akilu is a trained psychologist with over 20 years experience. Until August 2015, she led Nigeria’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme as the Director for Behavioural Analysis and Strategic Communications at the Office of the National Security Adviser; a position she held for 3 years. In this conversation, she speaks to TAP about the challenges that Nigeria faces with its humanitarian crisis and provides insight into how Nigeria can deal with the mass trauma that has resulted from the insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast. You can listen to the conversation with on our Soundcloud widget, or read it with the lightly-edited transcript below.
TAP interviewed some displaced people at a settlement of displaced people from Borno State located just outside Abuja. Here, we met Ibrahim, a young businessman and father from Gwoza. Boko Haram burned down his two homes. They also burned down his two cars, one of which had his life savings. With no money, he was forced to run away from his hometown for shelter.
Ibrahim’s story was translated for TAP by an English-speaking member of the community.
Translation: They were living happily. Then Boko Haram came and killed many people. They shot his brother as they were running away, and he wasn’t able to stay and help him. He had to run for his life. He had one trouser, one shirt, one slippers. He stayed here. He met others that they suffered together.
Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji is the Director of the Borno State-based federal body Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), which is in charge of managing agriculture in Nigeria’s conflict-affected northeastern zone. He has lived in Borno State since 1988 when he started working at the LCRI and has been working with farmers in the region ever since. He speaks to TAP about how violence in the northeast has affected food prices in Nigeria, how farmers in conflict-affected states have fared over the last 6 years, opportunities for agricultural development in the northeast, and what he believes the federal and the region’s state governments must do to get the region’s farmers resettled and the region’s agriculture-based economy working again.
TAP interviewed Mary from Adamawa State in a recent visit to a displacement camp in Nasarawa State. Mary recounts fleeing her town in Gwoza Local Government, Borno State, when Boko Haram destroyed her home in August 2014. She has been running ever since, first trekking about seven hours from her hometown in Gwoza across the border to Cameroon, then another approximately 23-hour walk from Mokolo in northern Cameroon to Mubi, Adamawa State. She ended up in a settlement for displaced people in Nasarawa State.
A man named Babangida from Gamboru Ngala in Borno State talks about the Boko Haram attack that made him flee his hometown. He moved to Fotokol, a town in Cameroon separated from the Nigerian town Gamboru by a 300 meters of river. The town of Gamboru Ngala has seen heavy fighting between Nigeria and Chadian military, and was formerly taken over by Boko Haram insurgents before being freed by Chadian military who crossed into Nigerian territory. Our interviewee Babangida talks about having to flee Gamboru Ngala for Fotokol, then Fotokol to Yola, before eventually ending up in a Maiduguri camp where he is with many of his townspeople.
A member of the volunteer army fighting Boko Haram known as the Civilian Joint Task Force spoke to TAP about life since having been displaced as a result of violence in his hometown of Baga, Borno State. He talks about fighting alongside Nigerian army, but getting overwhelmed and having to flee, and living with others from Baga in a crowded displacement camp in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. He also talked about the registration process for the upcoming electoral process and expressed his willingness to vote.
In this interview with a TAP volunteer in Borno State, Muhammad Kacalla from Dawan Masara near Baga in Borno State recalls how he fled his hometown following a Boko Haram attack. Now in a displacement camp, he talks about his life now and shares his willingness to vote in the upcoming Nigerian elections.
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A member of Civilian JTF Bande Kaskas from Baga in Borno State tells how he escaped his hometown during a vicious raid by Boko Haram that killed hundreds. He is now in a displacement camp in Maiduguri, the state capital. He talks about living in fear for the past few years, what people are doing to get people into Chad, how he and his group fight Boko Haram, and gave his point of view of what happened on the day of the massacre. He also talked about what life is like in the camps and the need for education and healthcare. He also expressed his willingness to vote in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.